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Thread: Creating an all LED home brought along worse problems w/flickering. Back to CFL's.

  1. #1

    Creating an all LED home brought along worse problems w/flickering. Back to CFL's.

    It was a progression of both "going green" and SUPPOSEDLY saving money. It's become just a major irritation, especially when guests visit.
    pLUS, Everything worked fine prior to converting over to led bulbs.

    But when I cannot have 2 side by side room's lights both turned on at the same time, I'm ready to go back to CFL's.
    At present, One of the two room's lights will start dimming and strobing, when both light circuits are turned on.
    One circuit has 3 spotlight type LEDs, that light up a kitchen and it's island. The next circuit lights 5 chandelier type LEDs above the kitchen table.

    My previous CFL's rarely had ANY flickering issues and lasted about as long as LEDs. Plus, I didn't have to do major "color matching", like with LEDs. [the low rnge LED's around 2.5K, with urine yellowish color, to semi white, to white to Blue-ish white.

    I FINALLY found a knowledgeable middle age woman in a Lowes store. (who probably regretted asking,"Can I help you") I presented the problem to her.
    She actually understood and knew the type of problem I was having.
    Then she showed me the Newer Type switches, with and without dimmers, that have an adjustable slide control strictly to address flicker.
    I assume it is a tunable resistor, inductor, and/or capacitor? Or a combination thereof?

    It makes sense, even if only from the viewpoint of here is the average Joe, with possibly an older dwelling, updating their home with new technology lighting.
    Somewhat like the way people try to get the newer LED automotive lights installed onto/into older 80's/90's vintage vehicles. There are all sorts of accessories for automotive LEDs to keep them steadily and properly lit.
    [though the voltages ARE different, with a house using A/C and vehicles using DC].

    Since LEDs came after such older type houses [and vintage vehicles] were built, no completely foreseeable allowances could have been made for dimmers and switches.
    I understand the corporate mindset of not simply Adding something to every LED bulb's internal circuitry, since it could increase cost-per-bulb by an extra half cent to maybe 25 cents per bulb [just a guesstimate].
    So leave that circuitry OUT of the bulbs and let the home owner pull THEIR HAIR OUT TRYING TO deal with the flickering and/or dimming problems.

    Before I throw good money after bad, and/or drag out the old CFL bulbs and replace the LEDS, can someone explain the exact type of :
    1. switch for LEDs
    2. switch with dimmer, for LEDs

    that will FIX the intermittent dimming and flickering?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Your post defines my business to a tee.

    CFLs and LEDs use the same method of determining color. It is based on heating a specific metal body. Around 2700 degrees Kelvin you get that red/orange color. As you continue up the scale it turns blue/white then white at around 5000K. They also use Color Rendering Index (CRI). For some reason red is the hardest color to render. When comparing sources, check the reds. The higher the CRI the better.

    There are 3 parts to the system - the dimmer, the driver/ballast, and the bulb. To work properly all 3 have to be compatible. Unfortunately, there are no standards for LED and CFL lighting, although some manufacturers do adhere to fluorescent standards for CFLs. There is a consortium working on standards. They may have something tomorrow or it may take 10 years. Adding to the problem, everybody is jumping on the LED bandwagon. I saw a LED retrofit for a recess can from Verbatim (the computer floppy disk company).

    Most LEDs/CFLs come with their own driver/ballast. However, some require forward phase (also called leading edge) dimmers. Some require reverse phase (trailing edge) dimmers. Some don't dim at all. Retailers will carry anything they can make a buck on. HomeDepot has 75+ manufacturers for LED bulbs.

    Lutron makes a series of dimmers called CL that are designed to work with over-the-counter, screw-in, CFLs and LEDs. They also have a tool to check compatibility (\led). New manufacturers pop up every day and existing manufacturers change their driver/ballast designs without notice there is no way to guarantee compatibility.
    LED, Incorporated
    Raleigh, NC 27614

  3. #3

    Thanks a lot for the info on the color scale and it's index and certainly for the dimmer and Fwd and Rev phasing issue.
    It's like you need to take classes on how to buy a light bulb.

    Regarding the color spectrums; I'm all for having more than one choice, just as long as the buyer knows ahead of time. I'm glad to see more vendors illustrating the scale and adding some colors to it, on the back of their packaging. Personally I haven't found any use for the low end, 2.7K spectrum lights, as they make things look rather yellowish and dingy. But I guess enough other folks do, otherwise they wouldn't be for sale in the marketplace. I personally consider the 3K and above to be closer to the older style incandescent light bulbs, but then the color topic can be somewhat subjective.

    I've had to "donate to charity", a few bulbs, due to having bought the wrong color "degree" of bulb. I have a feeling I'll be donating more, if they are not "compatible" with whichever lutron dimmer(s) I end up buying.

    I now look at the degrees K on every bulb before purchasing. Nothing more noticeable than an array of bulbs in a lamp fixture, with 2 or 3 different colors spectrums [like a 2.7K, a 3.x K and a 5.x K].

    I am getting ready to go around the house, light socket to light light, and annotate the brand and models of each bulb. Then run them against the Compatibility tool link you provided.

    Thanks again.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    I work with a lot of interior designers and they seem to like the 2700k. It is the closest to incandescent. 3000k isn't a big leap but it does eliminate some of the red/orange spectrum.

    Another thing to consider is that LEDs don't shift color unless specifically designed to do so. When you dim an incandescent down to 10% you get that orange glow. LEDs don't do that and it affects "perceived" light level.
    LED, Incorporated
    Raleigh, NC 27614

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